Tony La Russa was charged with a DUI. The White Sox hired him a day later.

After the White Sox hired Tony La Russa, I mentioned that they tend to get the outcome they deserve from their insane unwillingness to try a normal managerial hiring process even once.

So it makes sense that ESPN reported tonight that La Russa was arrested for driving under the influence in February, and charged a day before he was hired.

On Feb. 24 at 11:40 p.m., a peace officer responded to a call and found La Russa standing alongside his SUV, according to an affidavit filed by the Arizona Department of Public Safety. La Russa told the officer, who had detected a “light odor of alcoholic beverage,” that he had been at a dinner with friends from the Los Angeles Angels, for whom he was working as a special advisor. He was stopped near the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, and he told the officer he had hit something and had a tire blow out, according to the affidavit. After a field sobriety test, La Russa was taken into custody. In the affidavit, the peace officer described him as “argumentative.”

La Russa refused to submit to a breath test or provide a sample of his blood or urine to test his blood-alcohol level, according to the affidavit, and the officer obtained a search warrant to take two tubes of La Russa’s blood. That is a common procedure for DUI cases in Arizona, said Michael Munoz, a Phoenix-area DUI criminal defense attorney who is not affiliated with the case.

And they definitely deserve every ugly consequence here, because the White Sox knew it when they hired La Russa.

This is La Russa’s second DUI arrest. The first came back in 2007, when he fell asleep in his car at a stoplight during spring training in Jupiter, Fla. La Russa pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor and said in a statement, “I accept full responsibility for my conduct, and assure everyone that I have learned a very valuable lesson and that this will never occur again.”

Now that we know what La Russa’s word means, it’s time for the White Sox to cut him loose. It’s also time for Jerry Reinsdorf to personally take responsibility for an embarrassment that he personally forced upon an organization whose employees made it clear, through passive voice and anonymous grumblings, that they never signed off on this. But Reinsdorf wouldn’t be Reinsdorf if he responded to public anger for any of his mistakes, because then he might actually learn something from them. Instead, he’s defiantly striding in the opposite direction, making decisions that have layers of pants-soiling already baked in. Let’s see how many different White Sox executives are forced to take the heat for this, and for how long.

UPDATE (9:26 p.m.): The only reporter Reinsdorf talks to reports that “a high-ranking White Sox official told USA TODAY Sports that La Russa is no danger of losing his job, or any discipline by the club.” This would allow La Russa to save face by quitting, saying that he doesn’t want to be a distraction or something along those lines. However, this also enables the White Sox to embarrass themselves further, so it’s hard to tell which way this will break.

(Photo by Gage Skidmore)

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Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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texag10

Well I was expecting this to at least last until spring training before blowing up in our faces. Too bad Jerry won’t fire him again.

Shingos Cheeseburgers

Sox wasting no time in filling the void left by the Mets as the league’s most dysfunctional and inept franchise.

Foulkelore

Ah, so that’s why Reinsdorf was really trying to block the sale to Cohen.

evenyoudorn

Came here to make this comment. With Loria out and now the Wilpons, we’re on the top (of the bottom), baby!

vince

Sadly, I feel it might take him getting in an accident which causes someone a serious injury before the team might fire him.

In case anyone in the sox org reads this blog, I am not spending another cent on this team while LaRussa is still in the org.

asinwreck

Bob Nightengale has filed his story.

A high-ranking White Sox official told USA TODAY Sports that La Russa is no danger of losing his job, or any discipline by the club.

Shingos Cheeseburgers

I’ve been fortunate to not know anyone that’s suffered at the hands of a drunk driver so I can’t even imagine what’s going through the minds of a Sox fan/employee/player that has right now. The utter disregard and tone-deafness is unfathomable.

asinwreck

La Russa’s last DUI arrest came a few weeks before one of his own players died drunk behind the wheel. The consequences of these actions should not be abstract to him.

I would say this brings La Russa’s judgement into question, but is there really any question?

Shingos Cheeseburgers

You have to be impressed with the Sox’ ability to scale their public controversies to their level of success. A mediocre team has some annoying home schooled kids running around the clubhouse and disputes over jerseys. A playoff team has a manager hiring that literally everyone makes fun of and that is the source of further embarrassment five months before they even play a game.

If they ever make the World Series Eloy Jimenez is going to steal the nuclear codes and hold all of Western Europe hostage.

MonicaMG

Eloy Bomb takes a different meaning.

Right Size Wrong Shape

That would be the greatest movie ever made.

dwjm3

Nobody runs organizations better than Jerry

He is a real whiz

Shingos Cheeseburgers

Well somebody has gotta be a whiz since it sounds like TLR isn’t sharing any of his.

Arresting officer:
comment image

asinwreck

Jim is always kind and polite.

This would allow La Russa to save face by quitting, saying that he doesn’t want to be a distraction or something along those lines. Conversely, this also allows the White Sox to embarrass themselves further. It’s hard to tell which way this will break.

Betting lines favor the latter.

asinwreck

Tony La Russa last tweeted on Sunday. Follow him at @TonyLaRussa to see what he says about his latest DUI arrest.

mikeyb

Just gotta say that this hire gives off such a gross vibe. It was already very confusing as to why La Russa wanted to come back now, a decade after leaving managing. Now the Sox are saying they knew but won’t say anything else?

I guess I’m forced to assume that Tony called Jerry up and asked him for a chance to manage, to rehab his image from the bad publicity that was heading his way. And Jerry, being the old coot that he is, said sure thing buddy, anything for a pal.

Soxfreak64

Did the White Sox hire the Wilpons and I missed it?

This is a joke, and an incredibly offensive one at that. Everybody involved should be ashamed.

Right Size Wrong Shape

That would be another disappointment for me. I get a much better radio signal from 720 than I do 1000. I was enjoying having the games on WGN after years of leaning out my window holding aluminum foil trying to get 890 to come in.

Neat_on_the_rocks

So ESPN moving back the announcement due to the TLR news?

The Sox deserve to have the deal cancelled out. This is a sad night.

Steve

While the Wisconsin audience isn’t necessarily the target, 890 AM and 720 AM both have strong signals here. Unfortunately, ESPN 1000 doesn’t. I’m assuming this effects Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan listeners the same. At a time when things are looking better for the team, this seems like a step backward.

asinwreck

Sox alumnus weighs in.

The math in my head says DUIs are worse than cheating at baseball. Much worse.

— Brandon McCarthy (@BMcCarthy32) November 10, 2020

Trooper Galactus

He’s not wrong.

lastof12

What it also says is the Sox think the opposite. What an embarrassment.

soxexile

In any sensible organization, they would take back the job offer to LaRussa. But if they really knew this before they hired him, and they HAD to assume it would become public, then apparently they’ve already decided to face the predictable and deserved backlash.

Just sickening.

LuBob DuRob

I know money talks, but even if the Sox are ponying up the most money, why would a top free agent want to join this team at this moment? Hahn really should leave the organization. It wouldn’t surprise me if there is already a timeline for his exit.

BuehrleMan

However, this also enables the White Sox to embarrass themselves further, so it’s hard to tell which way this will break.

embarrass themselves further? i guess my lack of imagination has me struggling to come up with a scenario where that is possible. ????

BuehrleMan

haha. yes, of course you’re correct. but as soxexile referred to above, how long have the sox known about this? and they obviously hired him anyway knowing the information would come out. i guess the number of days they knew before making the hire must factor in to the multiplier.

edit: i suppose the embarrassment level already has that part baked in.

Foulkelore

They announce Tony La Russa will drive the lead car onto the field in their opening day ceremony, sponsored by Modelo?

Joliet Orange Sox

I upvoted Foulkelore’s comment because I laughed out loud. However, I feel pretty good about PR pros making things like that very unlikely. I think the more likely embarrassment is TLR or Jerry (through Nightengale) or someone else trying to minimize the DUIs by saying no one got hurt and that TLR knows his limits. Most of us have known someone with a problem who has done this kind of alarming excuse-making. Many years ago I had a cousin drive into a bike rack at a playground with a blood alcohol of 0.12 and spout off for years about how he could handle alcohol because even drunk he didn’t hit any of the kids he missed by a few feet.

evenyoudorn

This would be super gross at any time, but especially in 2020 and with this awesomely diverse, confident, vocal core, it would be impossible to provide a better example of privilege and contempt for… I don’t know… merit, transparency, just everything.

MrStealYoBase

I appreciate the strong and very justified take, Jim.

This is frankly unforgivable. La Russa has no place on this team.

Trooper Galactus

This may be what breaks me. I’ve stuck with this organization through a lot, from cheapness to demonstrably dumb decisions and outright incompetence on so many levels, always thinking the light at the tunnel was nearing. Now it just feels like Reinsdorf put the train in reverse.

I’m sensitive on this topic. I’ve seen the damage done from drunk driving first hand. I dedicated years of my life to stopping it. I’ve had friends and family members affected by it. I’ve disciplined Soldiers for it. I’ve lost Soldiers because of it. I don’t hold a grudge against LaRussa, who clearly has a problem and should be seeking help. Rather, I hold responsible an organization presumably run by adult human beings who should fucking know better than to enable, and even reward, his behavior.

This is such a monumental embarrassment. We should be able to celebrate a return to the playoffs. We should be looking forward with optimism, not apprehension. We should be able to take pride in being White Sox fans. But this, this stings. It’s worse than the LaRoche drama. It’s worse than Sale cutting up jerseys. It’s the biggest, most humiliating unforced error in the recent history of a team that’s been pretty consistent making them.

Never mind firing LaRussa, Jerry Reinsdorf needs to be removed as chairman. He’s undermining his front office and making the brand a joke. Sure, the shareholders might not care so much about the day-to-day incompetence of the team, but this sort of buffoonery is gonna hurt the bottom line if it’s allowed to persist. I look forward to a future without Reinsdorf at the helm.

evenyoudorn

He’s gotta go.

jhomeslice

Wow, piercingly articulate and well stated comment. I feel your pain and disappointment. However I will offer that this too shall pass. People are talking about this now, and won’t be when the season starts. So I don’t think this hiring ruins the rebuild, even if it was a dumb choice compared to other candidates. Maybe the terrible press from this will make Jerry try to compensate by signing a big time free agent for once. This team is not going anywhere if Grandal is their highest paid player or best free agent signing, no matter who manages. And I would take a Sox team with an addition like Bauer or Springer with LaRussa at the helm over a team without any major upgrades, and a better manager. We will see how this plays out when the dust settles. Hopefully they don’t have a pitiful offseason with mediocre upgrades and excuses for a change.

And I don’t disagree with the negative comments, only trying to view this constructively and without getting depressed!!

texag10

All the more reason to root for the players, not the jersey.

Marty34

Never mind firing LaRussa, Jerry Reinsdorf needs to be removed as chairman. He’s undermining his front office and making the brand a joke. Sure, the shareholders might not care so much about the day-to-day incompetence of the team, but this sort of buffoonery is gonna hurt the bottom line if it’s allowed to persist. I look forward to a future without Reinsdorf at the helm

This sounds like one of those meathead sports radio callers that gets railed against here. I mean it’s true but why so late to the party it’s been going on for nearly four decades now.

hitlesswonder

So…days after being charged with a DUI, La Russa stood in a press conference and passed his judgement that taking a knee during the anthem would be acceptable behavior if it was “sincere”. I lack the facility with words to express how arrogant and blinkered that seems to me.

I can’t wait to find out how this franchise will top this with the next embarrassment. Maybe we will find out that the season ticket sales staff are defrauding retirees out their social security boiler-room style.

PopeDonnPall

I don’t know who La Russa’s first call was to when he was arrested… but we know it wasn’t Tim Anderson.

To Err is Herrmann

It is astonishing that the Sox front office hired him knowing of the DUI charge. At the very least, they should have waited until either he proved his innocence or the charge was dismissed. To make the offer knowing of the charge is one of the stupidest hiring decisions I have ever heard of in my lifetime. A 76 year old man driving drunk is offered the best managerial job in baseball? Jerry, Hahn and Kenny all need to have their heads examined. Everything was going great for this team. And they just screwed it up. Unbelievable. One of the most self-destructive spasms of self-inflicted damage I have ever seen by an organization in recent times.

Amar

Kenny and Hahn are the yes men that give the FO the facade of a credible business entity, that is their role. I’m gonna say they share just as much responsibility as Jerry. Screw ’em all.

But I am particularly disappointed in Kenny. Even if I disagreed with his personnel decisions in the past, I always viewed him as a man of integrity. He could have stood up to Jerry after so many years.

Buehrlesque

Amid all the talk of JR, Hahn and TLR, I feel like KW has gotten a bit of a free pass. I am also disappointed in him. It’s clear that at this point he is just a water carrier for JR. I never saw him that way in the past, but the Manny Machado aftermath brought it out, and now his refusal to challenge the ludicrously bad TLR hire furthers that. Like you said, whether or not I agreed with his personnel decisions, KW always seemed to be a man of integrity and outspoken about his beliefs. Now he’s a pure yes man.

HallofFrank

I’m confused about why there would be any hope of the White Sox getting out of this hire, either from the team side (firing TLR) or from his side (his resignation). Both parties knew about the charge and, presumably, knew its becoming public would be possible, right?

I can’t see how this changes much, other than increased disdain for this hire.

As Cirensica

I just can’t add much more that haven’t being said in here. What a shitshow, but like Troop mentioned above, this is some serious stuff! By looking at it tangentially, this organization sends a wrong message. A very wrong message. For the first time, I feel sorry for Rick Hahn.

What kinda clubhouse culture will start brewing from day one when all these young and successful players start working under the command of somebody that clearly has an addiction problem? How can you gain authority or even respect? By brandishing in your face big rings in your fingers? This is a shitshow now, and it will be a shitshow tomorrow. I have known drunk people. This is a big issue. This is not DUIs… there will be more things, mostly unreported, but there’ll be things. Ugly things. The White Sox don’t need this.

Frank

Every one is judge and jury.I love the Chicago White Sox and I want another World Series .Lets see if Tony can get a fourth

As Cirensica

He was charged with a DUI (again), I think we are past the judge and jury part.

evenyoudorn

First, let’s see if he can blow 0.0 and start up his golf cart in the Spring. Probably Jerry will make Rick drive him around Camelback.

lastof12

DUI or World Series? Sorry, but this is BS.

Trooper Galactus

I’ve never been a judge or on a jury for a DUI charge. I have, however, done the charging. If you don’t see the writing on the wall with this, there’s no further discussion to be had here.

Qubort

Did they rush to hire him BECAUSE of the DUI? They appeared they were going to at least interview other candidates, but if the DUI was public during the search, he’d probably be out. That press conference would have gone very differently. To be charged and hired the very next day just stinks of kneejerk reaction from Jerry to get his boy before public backlash. Leave it to Jerry to have the darlings of baseball and make them a laughing stock without playing a single game.

asinwreck

Ken Rosenthal’s story, published with the headline “How can the White Sox continue to defend their hiring of Tony La Russa?”

The initial message of the La Russa hire, which included the White Sox’s token interview of former utility man Willie Harris in supposed observance of the Selig Rule requiring teams to talk to at least one minority for high-level positions, was dubious enough. And now? How do the White Sox, who declined further comment, citing the active nature of the case, defend keeping La Russa if he is found guilty of DUI a second time? How does Major League Baseball stand idly by?

Steve

While some people have assumed Rick is the leaker, Ken Rosenthal has been linked more with Kenny Williams.

dwjm3

Al Avila probably can’t even believe his luck. He got a better candidate than he should have because the Sox hired LaRussa. He also got to avoid the media scrutiny of the Hinch hiring since the media was focused on the train wreck going on in Chicago.

texag10

I mean, there have been three managers hired this offseason. Detroit/Hinch was going to be the least scrutinized no matter what. It also didn’t help that Boston tried to sneak the Cora news in while everyone was focused on the results of the election.

Frank

Wow an entire blog of saints

Marty34

If La Russa has sought help and stayed sober since this February incident the Sox are right to stand by him.

joewho112

It’s his second one. He’s had a player die in a DUI.

He’s used up his second chance.

Marty34

Why is he limited to only two chances? Alcoholism is a disease and it is important to know what steps he has taken since this incident to get better.

joewho112

He’s had 14 years to take steps

Right Size Wrong Shape

I know if I got a DUI tonight I’d be looking for work tomorrow.

texag10

Having never gotten a DUI, let alone a speeding ticket, I feel eminently qualified to judge La Russa as a horrible human being.

HallofFrank

If you read the comments carefully, you’ll see most of the frustration is not directed at La Russa for making a mistake but at the White Sox for making the hire anyway. I don’t think moral perfection is required to be a manager, but not drinking then driving is a pretty low bar to jump over.

Plus, this isn’t a speeding ticket or, well, stealing signs, this is literally one of the most dangerous and reckless activities you can possibly engage in short of an intent to harm someone. If not driving drunk and being very critical of those who do is what it means to be a Saint, then sure—I guess we’re Saints and let us thank God for it.

As Cirensica

I was gonna make a reply, but you pretty much summed all up here. So I give you a +1.

texag10

I have enough anger and frustration for both the Sox and La Russa.

Joliet Orange Sox

This post earned my first ever downvote. Both DUIs were when he was past middle-age. One is very recent. The Sox knew and hired him. One does not need to be a saint to be critical of the decision.

Qubort

It’s an unforced error by the organization. To have spent so much time building this team to now once again look dysfunctional to potential free agents is inexcusable.

karkovice squad

Manager is a public-facing leadership position. Gross lapses in judgment that include danger to the public are outright disqualifying. No, he doesn’t have to be convicted first because he shouldn’t put himself in position to be charged in the first place.

The team also runs PSA’s and programs to prevent drunk driving. What credibility do this have coming from an org that hires a leader immediately after he’s been charged with his second DUI?

joewho112

They’re DUIs, not parking tickets. What kind of asshole has multiple DUIs?

Blow my Gload

…and gets those DUIs after the age of 60 with more than enough means to have a full time driving service?

Kevin

I guess now we can question the “sincerity” of LaRussa’s declaration that it “would never happen again” after his first DUI. (Again, five months before one of his players was killed while drunk driving.)

IllinoisJones

I dunno about y’all, but I’m not spending a dime on this team until La Russa is gone.

knash

Well, Stroman’s out.

texag10

The first of many I’m sure.

karkovice squad

This is such an egregiously bad hire that the front office staff who disagreed with it should resign in protest. It was bad enough when Jerry leaned on their reputations to launder his bad preferences for baseball ops, budget, and team culture. At least there was some chance LaRussa could demonstrate growth and improvement. There was some justification for continuing to work within the limits of the team. LaRussa’s DUI undermines that and calls into question the character of the execs who stand by the decision and get paid for ownership to use them as laundry.

StockroomSnail

Can’t even go 2 years without hate watching this organization.